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SALT LAKE CITY -- I do almost everything on my iPhone. Write blog posts. Respond to emails. Surf the Internet. Access religious content. Shop. Pay my utility bills. Prepare presentations. Listen to music. Take pictures. Write novels — and this article.
And I also use the alarm clock, flashlight, credit card reader, barcode scanner and multi-language dictionary function.
Hands down, the iPhone beats every other device I own for portability, functionality and speed of use. But there are some things the iPhone doesn't do — that it should. All of them irk the daylights out of me. Here are a few of the reasons I sometimes lose my iPhone love:
- Undo auto-completeI'm typing a search term, my eyes focused on my iPhone's virtual keyboard so I don't make mistakes. I finish and instinctively press the spacebar, and the word changes from treant to freaky. Close, but not really. I shake the phone to "undo" and the word disappears entirely. Sigh. It's even worse when typing in multiple languages — interspersing Italian and English is a joke — since each time the iPhone decides I typed something wrong, I have to start over, this time waiting for the little auto-complete box to come up so I can cancel it. Sometimes I turn it off completely. There is no undo for auto-complete.
- Native with GPSI love the GPS feature of the iPhone. I learned the hard way, though, that unlike true GPS devices, the iPhone doesn't actually connect to public satellites to triangulate its exact position. Instead, it uses an algorithm based on signal strength, the distance and direction of cell towers, and nearby known public wireless networks. The real issue comes when I rely on my iPhone's GPS for anything but urban road trips. Driving cross country, there are long swaths where AT&T's network disappears and the upper left corner of my phone reads "No Signal." At that moment in time, the iPhone's complex mathematical GPS turns off completely, leaving me without a cell signal, Internet access or any idea of where I am or where I need to go. Not cool.
- Arrow keysI spend a lot of time typing on my iPhone. In addition to auto-complete, one of the things that frustrates me most is the process of moving the cursor to a new position on the page. On web sites or complex forms, I have to first zoom in, hold down the screen and tilt the phone so that I can see the cursor location, highlighted in a magnification bubble often exactly underneath my thumb. I move and let go, hoping that I've dropped the cursor in the right spot only to have to repeat the procedure twice because I was off by one space. Directional keys to navigate would be nice.
- Flash compatibilityThis has been hashed and rehashed a thousand times. But the iPhone has become my primary, and in many cases sole, Internet access device. Having to boot up my laptop because of yet another dreaded "you must download the most recent version of Adobe Flash Player" message or a blank Internet screen makes me want to buy an Android. There are logical business reasons to not support Flash and other plugins natively. Apple doesn't own the code for Flash, doesn't make a profit on applications written in Flash and can't control everything published in Flash. Vulnerabilities in Flash could lead to company liabilities. But it goes further than native support. Apple could easily allow third-parties to create software and take the blame if that software fails. That would allow the iPhone to run Flash. Instead, Apple disallows any software that adds that functionality and even historically banned apps translated from Flash in the App Store. I'm not sure how or why, but Apple has decided that consumers do not want Flash. I definitely disagree.
- Better batteryBefore I upgraded to an iPhone, I had an old flip-top Nokia. I could make interminable phone calls, send hundreds of text messages, write notes and take pictures, and as long as I remembered to charge my phone every few days, I was fine. With similar use — texting, writing and staying confined to a Wi-Fi network — my iPhone has to be charged at least three times a day to keep from turning off completely. I don't play games on my phone, spend hours surfing the web or use graphics-heavy apps. I actually clear out the memory cache and turn off 3G and location services, yet still struggle to make it through a day without a dedicated charging station. Taking my phone camping or hiking is not an option if I actually want to use it, and on long road trips I pray that I have the only iPhone in the car so I can use a charger. It would be nice if the iPhone had a better battery. I love my iPhone. It goes with me everywhere. Until my contract runs out and another phone offers all the same functionality, it will be a permanent part of my body. Someday, hopefully, the iPhone will do everything I want it to and more. In the meantime, I trade off between my iPhone and my years-old computer. And when it's the latter, I'm usually bemoaning the fact that "there's not an app for that." David Peterson is an avid iPhone user. He blogs at romanmissionary.blogspot.com and thesevenblog.com, and has published multiple books, most recently a children's book titled "10 Days Until Forever."